Yesterday, Ambrosine had split the converted cow pasture in half, separating her raptor Trouble from his compatriot in crime, Cap’s Cirice. They got along well–too well–but Ambrosine was aware that 1) it was spring and 2) she had no idea what the raptor mating season was. She didn’t want to find out the hard way.

This morning, Trouble was in Cirice’s half of the pen, and they were sleeping in a companionable pile of reptile, basking as best they could in the weak morning sun.

Imke found Ambrosine with her hands on her hips, staring up at the sky as if the clouds may write some sort of answer to her problem for her.

“Well, you look like you’re havin’ fun.” Imke came alongside her and leaned against the fence. 

“I’m wondering if you can neuter a raptor the same as a dog.”

“Well, I doan’ see any balls, so you have fun diggin’ around in there an’ lookin’ for ’em.”

“This is my conundrum, yes.”

“Gonna have to pen ’em further apart, I guess.”

“I will try that next but somehow I’m doubtful that will work.”

“You named ‘im Trouble, so it’s your own damn fault.”

Ambrosine just sighed and threw the raptor’s breakfast roughly at their head. “Well, thanks for coming by, Imke. I have a favor to ask of you.”

“You already conned Jim into buildin’ armor for you, you doan use rifles, an’ I doan think you want to commission me for clockwork art again.”

“I might, actually, but nevermore that. No, I am trying to secure funding for a…friend’s project. You have more free capital than most.”

Imke shrugged. It was true. Most of Ambrosine’s wealth (meager as it was, by noble standards) was tied up in property. A farm, the brewery, the manor house. Imke…well, Imke collected her wages from Jim, and her commission fees, and mostly…did nothing with them.

Well, except for funding an orphanage to such a degree that she could–and did–basically dictate how the place was run. When you come from an orphanage so miserable you run away six times, finally escaping at the age of ten, you may have strong opinions on the matter.

Otherwise–Imke had a house, and bought supplies, and sat on a growing fortune because she could and it pleased the former poor girl.

“What sort of project?”

“Well, it’s for–do you know Mary?”

“Big ol’ dark Charr? Yeah. What’s he need?”

Ambrosine drummed her fingers on the top fence plank. “Well, his old warband is–anyway, it’s better for everyone involved if he gets out of it. He wants to start up a new one. If he sticks with the Legion, he can get supplies that way, but then he’s also constrained to their orders. If they can secure independent funding, however…”

“Mary’s okay, but I’m not sure what I think about throwin’ a lot of money at Charr. As a group.”

“Eury’s involved,” Ambrosine said, watching Imke out of the corner of her eye. 

(Meanwhile, the raptors were playing a good-natured game of tug o’ war with a massive thigh bone.)

“With a warband? Seriously? Huh.” Imke sighed. “I’ll talk to him about it and we’ll see.”

“Good enough.” Ambrosine smiled. “Have you scared off your pretty boy yet?”

The engineer scowled. “No, I have not.”

“Well that’s good.”

“…well I’ll be leaving now!” Imke announce, spinning on her heel and marching away. She was barely comfortable with the thought of having a serious relationship, she certainly didn’t want to talk about it.

Ambrosine laughed and left to find Trouble someplace else to stay.

Author Ambrosine
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